In the year 1875, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne set sail for Europe with her three children, after leaving her two-timing husband. Little did she know that what life held in store for her: the heartbreak of watching her youngest child die, meeting and marrying one of the most celebrated authors of the time, and struggling to balance her own writing career and her new marriage.
The man who became her second husband was Robert Louis Stevenson. Before reading this novel, I didn’t know much about him. His story, however, is one reason I enjoyed this book so much. Born into a privileged Scottish family, Stevenson constantly battled his father over his choice of career, and, simultaneously, battled a life-threatening lung ailment.
From the troubles with family, the constant need for money, the toll their friendships had on their marriage, and the travels from Europe to America to the South Seas, the Stevenson’s led a life every bit as adventurous as the novels he penned. Top this all off with snippets of the great man’s writing, and Nancy Horan has put together an interesting an exciting novel. Many thanks to Ballantine Books for sending me an advance review copy of this book. You will find it at your favorite bookseller on January 7, 2014.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2014